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According to Martin Heidegger, what is the difference between authenticity and inauthenticity?

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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When we are born, we already find ourselves occupying a specific social environment, with all its rules, laws, and social conventions. We have been "thrown" into a social world, as Heidegger would say. Yet sooner or later the human being (or Dasein) is confronted with a stark existentialist choice. Either it can blindly accept the ways of Das Man or "Them," that is to say society's established conventions; or, it can face up to its own mortality and live a life that is suitably determined by a newfound understanding of the significance of that mortality. The former attitude is what Heidegger means by inauthentic; the latter, is what he would call authentic.

As we have been thrown into a world which we didn't create and whose values have already been shaped for us, it's inevitable that in order to achieve authenticity, we must first live inauthentically. But for Dasein to live authentically, it is necessary to be alerted by a general state of anxiety or Angst to the fact of our mortality. To be...

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